BERLIN – A high school student is leading the charge to collect used markers for a Crayola recycling program.
Earlier this month, Stephen Decatur High School junior Maddox Bunting launched a local effort to collect used markers for Crayola ColorCycle, an initiative that allows students in K-12 schools to collect used plastic markers and send them to a conversion facility where they will be repurposed and kept out of landfills.
Through Dec. 18, Buckingham Elementary School, Showell Elementary School, Berlin Intermediate School, Stephen Decatur Middle School and Stephen Decatur High School will be collecting all brands of spent markers, highlighters and dry erase markers at collection stations located in each of the main offices.
“Anyone can bring them in,” he said.
Maddox said he first heard of ColorCycle from his mother, Misty Bunting, who discovered the program through social media. He said he decided to spearhead collection efforts after realizing the number of dried-up markers lying around his own house.
“I also noticed the teachers at my school had a lot of markers as well,” he said. “So I thought we could get the schools involved.”
Misty said Maddox did all the work to start the program. She noted that he received permission from the principals, delivered the collection boxes and wrote a letter to be sent home with the students.
“I really think he’s learned more about the importance of protecting the environment and how much is going into landfills that can be recycled,” she said.
Maddox noted that he will pick up boxes from each participating school on Dec. 18 and weigh the markers before sending them off to Crayola, which provides free shipping labels.
“I’ve been to some of the schools and there’s a lot of markers we’ve collected,” he said. “At Stephen Decatur, we have two bins and one bin is already full.”
Misty added that she was pleased with the response.
“No matter the amount, it’s less markers going into landfills,” she said.
The ColorCycle program has repurposed more than 70 tons of expended markers in the United States and Canada since 2013 and uses advanced plastic conversion technologies to make wax compounds for asphalt and roofing shingles, as well as to generate electricity that can be used to heat homes, cook food, and power vehicles.
Maddox said he already has plans to collect used markers again next year.
“I hope it’s teaching people to recycle more and help the environment,” he said.